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FDA Warns Fluoroquinolones to be Used Only to Treat Anthrax or Plague

This is Michael Brady Lynch, lead trial attorney for The Michael Brady Lynch Firm.

The spotlight is on fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox once again. The FDA has revised Black Box warnings, the strongest FDA warning available, stating that these popular antibiotics bring side effects so severe that they should only be used in dire situations. This does not include the simple sinus or urinary tract infections they are usually prescribed for.

The side effects are disabling and potentially permanent damage to tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system. These side effects can occur anywhere from hours to weeks after fluoroquinolone usage. This is why the FDA insists that these antibiotics only be used in extreme circumstances such as treating plague, anthrax and some types of bacterial pneumonia.  The risk of exposure to this crippling nerve and tendon damage has to outweigh the benefits of using the antibiotics.

These drugs are the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in the United States; more than 26 million Americans take them in some form every year. Pharmaceutical companies are raking in the profits. In 2010, Bayer’s top two fluoroquinolones (Cipro and Avelox) brought in $1 billion in sales. Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin sold $1.3 billion. These drugs work by using fluoride to penetrate into very sensitive tissues, including your brain. This deep tissue penetration makes a potent neurotoxin and breaks down collagen in the body, as well.

For hundreds of thousands of people, these updated warnings come too late. The FDA database of adverse effects listed 3,000 deaths and over 200,000 complaints of serious effects. What is most troubling is that it is estimated that the FDA only receives around 1% of all reports. This could mean a death rate closer to 300,000.

If you or a loved one experienced an adverse event from taking a fluoroquinolone, call us at 877-513-9517 for a free consultation.

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